Cocktail Party Donts: No Religion, No Politics! And my Apology…

I should and could have known better: You stay away from religion and politics in situations that call for a friendly, slightly superficial atmosphere. Like e.g. at cocktail parties. Or their social media equivalent: Facebook. (Don’t take it personal, Mr.  Zuckerberg… some party! A multi billion dollar party, actually. Kudos, Sir! What? Wall Street had that one covered? Anyway…) However, with my compulsive sharing-every-thought-every-minute disorder I couldn’t help it – and voiced my opinion on one or the other topic, and oftentimes on matters, I didn’t have all the facts in first. Like US politics, for example. Or how they (don’t) work. Like, where or when the POTUS should have delivered or missed out on. Fact is: I don’t know shit. Or if I did, it’s a slightly different kind of shit. I mean, don’t get me wrong: Shit is shit here in my country as well. And from the smells of it – yeah, a big turd all the way, too! But still not the same turd and not flushed down the same W.C.

Fact is: I grew up in a different country. While a thing or two could be said about having gotten americanized from early on – can you say syndicated TV shows? AFN radio? Troops stationed in our backyards guarding nuclear missile launchpads? – and while some even go at lengths to prove that we’ve never been a sovereign nation after WW II ever again, it still is and was not US soil. The point being: The mindset used to be different. The inner workings of our government and their politics were different. And the “people’s identity” – if there was such a thing to begin with – is and was different, too. I think, I have understood that Americans don’t wait on their country to do something for them, but instead make things happen for themselves – and expect their administration, their country to stay out of their way doing so. I think, I have understood that families provide for themselves and don’t expect their nation to provide for them. Hard working people, the American Dream, you make the bed you lay in and all those good things. While “we” tended to expect our politicians and their politics to take care of us in cases of emergency. Good, hard working people here as well. People, who show up at their 9 to 5 jobs for the bigger part of their working lives in order to generate some modest as in: carefree wealth and maybe even modest property for themselves. But in return, we used to trust our politicians to know our needs and requirements and for the first to take care of those. Like public healthcare, pension funds, all sorts of insurances keeping you out of harm’s way should something unforeseeable ever happen. Kind of a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” sort of  a deal. I would have to stress: It used to be like that when I grew up. Now, some 30 years later, things aren’t the same here anymore, either. But before I really get into a drawn-out debate over exactly when things fell to the wayside in my country and where the chips landed, let me say this:

Pardon my ignorance! And I apologize for having hurt one or the other’s feelings with any of my posts in the past.

But… I can’t promise it won’t happen again. This probably is, what intercultural communication was all about: You understand a people’s identity and respect their feelings about the first. I have not always followed that paradigm. And while I’ll surely try to do better in the future, I can’t guarantee anything. With every issue, there is a plethora of aspects and facets to them. And maybe not. Maybe it’s indeed become a “follow the trail of money” world – or has been that kind of world all along. Be that as it may. What I’m trying to say is: (Try and ) Don’t take anything personal. It’s not. There are great and wonderful people everywhere. And each nation or culture has their share of a-holes, too. So, after all – things aren’t all that different altogether when you drill them down to the human level, aren’t they?




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